Sony's VTOL drone can do Bat-like vertical takeoffs

Sony's new drone, the AS-DTO1-E UAV, is a prelude of greater things to come from drones in future - observing inaccessible places and delivering products, for starters

By Rik Ray Published Date
26 - Aug - 2015
| Last Updated
27 - Aug - 2015
Sony's VTOL drone can do Bat-like vertical takeoffs

Last month, Sony announced its plans to enter the drone market by teaming up with robotics company ZMP Inc. In a video posted by Aerosense on Sunday, it demonstrated the prototype’s VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) capabilities. Christened AS-DTO1-E, the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) will be able to carry objects weighing up to 22 pounds, and fly continuously for two hours at a maximum speed of 106 miles per hour (171 kmph).

The UAV looks like a small model airplane, although it is capable of taking off and landing vertically, much like a helicopter, or, for a sicker reference, The Bat. From what can be seen in the video, there seems to be a single adjustable rotor which can change its orientation to adapt for takeoff, landing or propelling the drone across the sky.

When Amazon announced its plans to experiment with drones for delivering orders last year, a lot of businesses warmed up to the idea. A pizza store in Mumbai actually went ahead and managed to deliver orders with drones. With Sony’s mobile division facing losses, it looked skywards for inspiration, and seemed to pick up on plans to enter the drone market. It had previously announced its intention to serve business customers with the drone.

Over the last few years, research in drones has picked up considerable momentum along with novel applications of drone technology. Internet giants like Google and Amazon are already at the forefront of this. Apart from delivering packages, Aerosense will be looking to offer services such as inspection of aged infrastructure and surveying of lands that are otherwise inaccessible. The drone will possibly be able to carry different types of instrument to do the tasks.

“By making it automated, drones will be considerably safer because many of accidents today are caused by human errors,” said Hisashi Taniguchi, chief executive of Aerospace and ZMP. With this drone, Sony will be looking to turn around its fortunes by tapping into a hugely promising revenue source. Aerosense is expected to provide its services to business customers sometime next year.